MTR Bangalore – Quintessential Local Food

South Indian Thali on Banana Leaf at MTR Bangalore
MTR Bangalore South Indian Thali on Banana Leaf

The MTR Bangalore- you probably have only heard of MTR spices, but the red spice packets have a story behind them. South Indian Thali Image courtesy Shutterstock.

MTR Bangalore – Places to visit in Bangalore

Every city has some signature places that define the character of that city. Sometimes they are the parts of the city that have seen the history of the city. Sometimes it’s a monument that gives the city its identity. Then sometimes it’s the people who are the defining point of a city. And sometimes it is an eating joint that speaks about the culinary delights of that city like MTR in Bangalore.

Mavalli Tiffin Room or MTR as it is popularly known is the signature eating joint for Bangalore, especially its original restaurant near Lal Bagh. There is only one meal that you get there. Which is served in a traditional way in a steel plate and silver glass, in a typical south Indian style? The cuisine is very local i.e very Bangalore, not sure if I can call it Karnataka or south Indian in general. I am told one of the dishes, Bisi Bele Bhath was actually invented at MTR Bangalore. Which went on to become a popular breakfast snack across the city and state.


Anyone who has been there would tell you about the queue that you have to face at MTR Bangalore. You have to buy your meal coupons and token number on the ground floor and then move to the waiting room on the first floor. In the waiting room, you can see old photographs when MTR was the known caterer of the region. The waiting room is simple, similar to the old railway waiting rooms with wooden benches and a ceiling fan. From the waiting room, you can see the dining halls with very south Indian granite top tables and plastic chairs. I had reached just in time to be in the first batch to eat. so my wait time was around 15-20 minutes only. But if you do not reach before the restaurant opening time, you must budget for up to 1-2 hours of waiting time.

South Indian Thali at MTR Bangalore
MTR Bangalore food Illustrative Thali Image courtesy Shutterstock


Once you are on the table, all excited after a long wait, the first thing that you get is a honey lemon juice flavored with mint in a silver glass. It is an amazing drink, apparently, adds to your appetite. Post which starts the series of dishes that keep coming to your plate. By the time you get the main dish of Rice and Sambar, in all probability, you would already be full. I was forewarned by my friends not to eat too much in the beginning and that helped me to at least taste everything that was served. In all, there were around 20 servings which include the concluding Ice-cream and Paan. As you finish your meal, the only thing that you may want to do is ‘go home and have a satisfied sleep’.


Now what I find interesting is that there had been no attempt to modernize this place. MTR Bangalore exists the way it would have been created decades ago. It actually dates back to 1924. You can say that they have not moved with the time, but then is it necessary that everything changes? Should not some places remain the way they are, eluding the old world charm? Another observation that I had was that the people serving you food, really served with a smile and actually insisted that you eat more. Something that I have usually missed in Bangalore.

MTR Bangalore is one of the Places to visit in Bangalore for anyone who lives in or visits Bangalore.

Recommend you to read following Places to visit in Bangalore.

  1. Street Food at Food Street Bangalore.
  2. Innovative Film City Bangalore.
  3. Fireflies Dusk to Dawn Music Festival.
  4. Drive Through the Kempegowda Towers.
  5. Drive to Pearl Valley – Bangalore.


  1. Well written, I used to go to a historical eaterie near MG Road , Koshy’s I guess , wonderful non-veg snacks …really miss some of those here in Mumbai

  2. Hi Niladri,

    I being a vegetarian could never appreciate Koshy’s, but their sunday morning breakfast is amazing and it’s location is just right for meeting anyone from anywhere around the city.



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